Whether you're a resident or a visitor, exploring Tallahassee's literary scene is an enriching experience that allows you to connect with the city's culture, history, and the creative minds that call it home.
As the capital city, Tallahassee has a lot to offer. Nestled in Florida’s Panhandle, it’s a city steeped in culture, history, and a vibrant literary scene. Tallahassee has always been home to authors and artists alike. Join us as we explore Tallahassee’s local books, talented authors, and charming bookstores that make it a literary haven for bibliophiles.
Local Authors: The Heart and Soul of Tallahassee’s Literary Scene
Tallahassee boasts a rich history of fostering talented writers and authors who have made a significant impact on the literary world. With an inviting atmosphere for creativity and inspiration and two universities, it’s no surprise the city has been home to some notable authors, including:
Russ Franklin, a long-time Tallahassee resident, FSU alumnus, and author who currently teaches writing at Florida State University. His work has appeared in Oxford American, Alaska Quarterly Review, Greensboro Review and other publications. His novel “Cosmic Hotel” follows the adventure of Sandeep Sanghavi, the mixed-race son of an Indian businesswoman and a famous American astronomer who’s traveling the country with his mother’s hotel consulting firm until a stranger calls and mystery ensues.
Damon Tweedy, former Tallahassee resident, FSU alumnus, and author’s memoir “Black Man in a White Coat” was released in 2015. Though not entirely set in Tallahassee, this memoir explores race and medicine, including his experiences at Florida State University’s College of Medicine, providing a unique perspective on identity and profession in the Southern context.
Diane Roberts, an eighth-generation Floridian, was born in Tallahassee and went on to become an American author, columnist, essayist, radio commentator, reviewer, and professor. She is the author of three books and a documentary-maker for the BBC. She’s currently a professor at Florida State University.
These authors are only a glimpse into the literary treasures that Tallahassee has produced. Local authors continue to captivate readers with their unique perspectives and storytelling prowess, often drawing inspiration from the city’s rich history, natural beauty, and cultural diversity.
Local Books: A Window to Tallahassee’s History and Culture
The stories of Tallahassee and its inhabitants come to life through the pages of books penned by local authors. These books offer a remarkable opportunity to delve into the city’s history, culture, and character through both nonfiction and fiction approaches. Some noteworthy local books to consider are:
“100 Things to Do in Tallahassee Before You Die” by Elizabeth Rosario. A long-time Tallahassee resident, FSU Alumna, and author, Rosario released her nonfiction book, in 2023. Through the book, Rosario reveals the hidden treasures the locals love and she knows you will too. Whether it’s kayaking the Wacissa River, mountain biking the Lafayette Heritage trail, or driving out to St. George Island, the book explores the Tallahassee adventures that will keep you coming back for more.
“Southern Reach” by Jeffrey VanderMeer. A contemporary author, VanderMeer is famous for his trilogy, which combines science fiction, fantasy, and environmental themes in an alluring and immersive narrative. Set in a mysterious and ever-changing wilderness known as Area X, which was inspired by his hike through St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. His series is a unique blend of science fiction and environmental commentary that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
“The Yearling” by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Renowned for her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Rawlings is forever remembered for her vivid portrayals of rural Florida in her writings. This timeless classic paints a vivid picture of life in rural North Florida, with a heartfelt story of a young boy and his pet deer.
“Retribution” by Jilliane Hoffman. A legal thriller set in Tallahassee, “Retribution” follows a prosecutor’s quest for justice in a high-stakes case, providing a gripping tale of legal intrigue in the Florida capital.
“Killing Mister Watson” by Peter Matthiessen. While not exclusively set in Tallahassee, this historical novel delves into the life of Edgar J. Watson and the impact of his actions on the early 20th-century Florida frontier, offering a glimpse into the state’s complex history.
Local Bookstores: Where Tallahassee’s Literary Scene Thrives
Exploring Tallahassee’s literary offerings would be incomplete without a visit to its charming local bookstores. These independent bookshops offer a unique and cozy atmosphere, making them more than just places to buy books – they are community hubs where book lovers can connect through book clubs, readings, and more! Some of Tallahassee’s beloved local bookstores include:
Midtown Reader: Located in the heart of Midtown Tallahassee, Midtown Reader is a warm and welcoming space that hosts author events, book clubs, and a thoughtfully curated selection of books, including a section dedicated to local authors.
My Favorite Books: A local staple, My Favorite Books offers a wide range of new and gently-used titles, from bestsellers to niche interests, all while providing personalized recommendations and a cozy reading nook.
Fat Cat Books: With its warm ambiance and shelves brimming with carefully curated selections, this independent bookstore has become a cherished destination for locals and visitors alike. As a feline adoption center combined with a thrift bookstore and an eclectic boutique, there’s always something going on at Fat Cat Books.
The Bookshelf: Just a short drive from Tallahassee in nearby Thomasville, Georgia, The Bookshelf offers a carefully curated selection of books, gifts, and stationery, making it a delightful destination for bibliophiles.
Tallahassee, Florida, is a city brimming with literary treasures, from its celebrated local authors and their remarkable works to the welcoming embrace of its charming bookstores. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, exploring Tallahassee’s literary scene is an enriching experience that allows you to connect with the city’s culture, history, and the creative minds that call it home. So, why not take a leisurely stroll through the city’s bookshops, immerse yourself in the pages of local books, and discover the essence of Tallahassee through the eyes of its talented authors?
Looking to read more without breaking the bank? Try one of Tallahassee’s esteemed library branches and rent these books and more for free! Visit our blog to learn about all the perks the library offers residents and find your local branch.